Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A vote in the Pennsylvania Senate on a school vouchers measure has been put off for at least 2 weeks. It was approved Monday by the Senate Appropriations Committee but apparently did not have enough support to pass the GOP-controlled Senate. So Governor Tom Corbett met this afternoon behind closed doors with Republican Senators. Afterward, Corbett would not comment on what he said to the lawmakers. But Republican Senator John Eichelberger of Blair County said that the governor has to lead on this issue. Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi said the governor did express support for the bill, but Pileggi says some changes must be made. The committee amended the measure yesterday afternoon, putting a $250 million annual cap on the amount of voucher money spent on poor students who don’t live within low-performing school districts. The program gradually expands over three years: in the first year, only poor students in “persistently lowest-achieving” schools are eligible. That grows to poor students in underperforming districts in year two, and then all poor students in years three and beyond. “Poor” is defined as a family making up to 130 percent of the federal poverty line, which would be just over $28,000 for a family of four.